Autumn leaves in a New Mexico are golden: from the daisies in the fields to the aspens in the hills, everywhere we look, we see fields of yellow. My hike this week took me up to the ski basin where aspens have transformed the landscape. In Santa Fe, when greeting friends, or even strangers waiting in line at the store, one whispers, “Did you get up there?” meaning, have you made a pilgrimage to the aspens? This year’s aspen season is especially beautiful and especially long. Even though the peak has passed, the yellow continues to deepen and spread, winding into high slopes, curving down in to canyons.
I know a Japanese phrase, which means to find solace and restoration in the woods, shirin-yoku: forest bathing. Walking in autumn in aspens is poignant - the sunlight filters through the golden leaves and bathes us in a golden light. I stood under the aspens as the sun was setting and looking west, I saw a wall of shimmering gold – nothing to see, only yellow, as far up, as far down, as far side to side as was possible. No meaning, only feeling, bathed yellow.
Aspens have inspired my collage for the last few years – whether viewing them from afar standing in the chamisa-filled arroyos, bathing in their golden light, or doting on my little backyard aspen. Here are a few samples from my “Autumnal Haiku” series.
This photograph captures the last leaves clinging to the branches, reflecting the setting sun; to my eye, I see stars splayed in a galaxy. Who knows? Maybe that will be my next collage…
Meanwhile, I continue to cut and paste and assemble my new series (I have BIG PLANS for that!)
My little backyard aspen has not taken on its autumn color yet; when it does, I always invite friends over to sip a little wine and bask in the “aspen glow” – if you’re in town, swing by and we can shirin-yoku together.
Meanwhile, see you at the Railyard!
Love and peace!
D E C O
Art, news and thoughts from Santa Fe, New Mexico.